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Dear Sarah Dessen... This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Dear Sarah Dessen,

As a somewhat mature junior in high school, I have seldom made serious mistakes in my high school years. However, last year I made what has so far been the worst mistake of my life.

I had just transferred from Del Mar High School, population approximately 1,300 students, to Golden Sierra High School, with a student body count of 600, give or take. Out of the 600 students, I managed to find and date a genuine moron. Typical. Of course, at the time, I was greatly convinced that there was no greater person in the world, that being my first mistake of many.

While I was dating him, I found complete solace in seeing him. I was always happy to talk to him. I felt “safe”; I felt “loved,” and in believing his words of comfort, I stupidly allowed him take a piece of me that I can never get back. Ever… and yeah, our “relationship” was great while it lasted. I guess. As time moved on, he changed. He was meaner. He said hurtful things and would tell me to shut up. Yet I still loved him, for some reason. Maybe the truth was so terrible I resisted seeing him for what he was but saw him as what I wanted, maybe needed, him to be.
I used to wish that the cards had played out differently. I used to wish he would want me again, but looking back, I’m glad he didn’t. He didn’t respect me, and, at the time, I was just too blind to see it. When he broke up with me, I lost my mind. I was hurt. Always crying, I didn’t understand why he had done that to me. I couldn’t think of what I had done to deserve the treatment he was giving me, and I lost my reason. Within the first week following our break up, I had punched a plethora of holes in my wall and kicked a hole in the door. I felt out of control and eventually succumbed to my disgusting old habit of cutting. I was a wreck. I didn’t want to go to school or talk to anyone. Eventually, my mom forced me to call and talk to a guy on the suicide hotline. I felt betrayed. I didn’t want to die. I wanted to disappear.

Roughly a week after he had “broken my heart,” as some teen drama queens would exaggerate, I stumbled across The Truth About Forever on my bookshelf. Remembering how a couple of your other books, Just Listen and Someone Like You, had affected me, I slid the book out of its place, not for the first, but for the fourth time. I had read those first ten pages many times.

Not knowing the affect that The Truth About Forever would have on me, I opened the cover and began, simply, with Chapter 1. Soon, I was sucked into the story and my real-life problems melted away into nothing. Life seemed clear again, black and white with no more grey spots. The quiet pages filled my head with your voice, and the aid of your hands pulled me back on my feet.

I was Macy. I had the boring job at the library with the two girls who made me feel as though I wasn’t worthy to be in their presence. I was falling for Wes Baker. I had the manic job at the Wish. I was learning and living through Macy Queen. I was no longer broken. I was no longer weak.

About three hours after beginning it, I finished the last word with tears flowing down my face. I laid in my bed and I cried until I couldn’t see, and when I was done crying because of your book, I was done crying about that stupid boy for good. Somehow in knowing that “for any one of us our forever could end in an hour or a hundred years,” I let go of the piece of me that I felt I had lost.
I haven’t cut since I read your book. I haven’t punched or kicked any walls. I haven’t thought about what it would be like to be with him. I haven’t wanted to.
The Truth About Forever is more than just a book to me. It’s a close friend that helped me when I was beyond the point of no return.

It saved my life.
You saved my life.
I had hit rock bottom and I was prepared to dig the hole deeper just to escape from my drama.
With a new found self-love and courage, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’re a real-life hero. You’re my hero.

Sincerely yours,
B.W.





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